ALL in on Love: A One Week Challenge
Over the course of a week how much time do we spend reacting to life with fear, anxiety, worry, anger, jealousy, pride or self-doubt? Even if we don’t exhibit these reactions externally, and only feel them on the inside, can our negative inner dialogue change? With the trials and tribulations of life in 2017 can we possibly live a full week without being consumed by negative reactions and instead be grounded in love?
This is something I have been thinking about lately for my own life, so I am going to try something different during what Christians call Holy Week (April 9th-16th). I am using the acronym “ALL” because this is my experiment with being “ALL in on love.” Also – regardless of religious or political persuasion – this is something we can ALL do together. I know. The acronym is corny. But I think “ALL” might really make a difference! Here is what I'm going to do:
First, I am going to set the alarm on my phone to go off every three waking hours. When it goes off, I will practice ALL.
Awareness. What is it I'm feeling? What is the conversation I have just been having in my head prior to this moment? Am I experiencing some reaction of fear, anxiety, worry, anger, jealousy, pride or self-doubt? Is there some other harmful reaction churning within me? Is there tension in my body? What is that about? I am not going to try and not judge myself for any reactions I might be having. I am going to treat it more like a dispassionate research project where I just remain curious about what it is that I'm experiencing. Awareness, not judgment, is the goal.
Let go. In my mind, I will take any reactions I am currently experiencing and let go of them. What has worked for me in meditation practice, to bring myself to the present moment, is to take my thoughts and metaphorically put them somewhere. I am going to try that during this exercise. So, if I'm at work and I have an angry reaction, I will let that anger go by placing it on my desk. If I read a political article and I respond with fear, I will let that fear go by placing it on the kitchen table. This may actually be kind of fun, depending on where I metaphorically place my reactions.
Love immediately. I will then engage in an act of love. This could be a small act of kindness. Simply giving a smile, opening a door, or changing my tone in a conversation. It could be a word of encouragement, calling someone who needs to know that they are not alone. It could be making a commitment for the future – signing up for service at the food kitchen. It could be an act of justice – standing up for someone or something that needs our voice. I hope I can be creative in the moment.
Will you join me in ALL?
At a time when we are so divided, those of any religion or no religion – as well as those politically enraged or politically disengaged – can practice this discipline. It is literally something we can “all” do together.
Please leave posts on my Facebook page as to how it's going and I will do the same. You can also text me at 214.417.6589 if you would like to share privately.
I’m starting ALL at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 9th and ending on Easter Sunday, April 16th at 12:00 p.m.
ALL. All in on love.
Rev. Brent Barry is the lead pastor of NorthPark Presbyterian Church. Brent and NorthPark have a deep commitment to working with the poor and hungry in Dallas, helping those with Alzheimer’s disease, and reaching across religious and cultural lines to do their part to bring Dallas together as one.